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Autistic Adults Online

An ESRC-funded project investigating how autistic adults use social media to build and maintain relationships.

The aim of the study is to examine how autistic adults use social networking sites to maintain existing social relationships or create new ones. Understanding how autistic individuals use language, images, as well as different technological tools to communicate in social media is important for the design of environments that are inclusive of autistic user abilities and preferences. The study will help inform initiatives that use digital networking technologies to improve the quality of life of autistic adults.

The project runs from December 2020 to December 2022.

To learn more about how autistic adults use and experience social media, you can read personal experiences on our blog page.

Blogs: Experiences of Autistic Adults Online

  • Jack
    If there is a common pattern to be found among most, if not all, social media profiles it is one persona that emerges: we are all PR managers. For a large section, this kind of depiction is deeply distasteful – perhaps even a slur. Regardless of the platform though, it is hard to overlook how each of us, more obviously for business and organisation channels, seek to cultivate a certain image in a light we want others to perceive us.
  • Anonymous
    So, I had this huge long article planned and drafted. Word salad, all of it really as it’s pretty simple. I came to Twitter looking for information at the beginning of the pandemic, having a husband who we thought was “vulnerable”. Having almost lost him in January 2018 to a combination of flu, pneumonia and a chest infection, I didn’t want to go through all that again.
  • Helen
    I am 38. I find technology overwhelming and there’s a limit to what I would keep, and what I would like to never have been invented. I didn’t grow up with friends around me to gradually learn about and adopt advances in technology and I didn’t anticipate it’d become so central to everything in life.
  • Flo
    Growing up, I’d always compared myself to my friends. As a child, I was painfully aware of the differences between myself and my classmates – socially, I struggled to make friends, but academically I was performing well above my age group. I preferred reading about archaeology in a quiet corner of the classroom instead of playing make-believe games in the playground.
  • castlering
    There’s a concept of oversharing that us autistics are apparently renowned for; we have a reputation for not just talking about something, but going to the nth degree, regardless of whether or not the listener is interested. What is interesting though is how so many NTs* do just that on Facebook.